Speeches of Introduction

Speeches of Introduction are intended to say to the audience “You will benefit from listening to the speaker.” They should also tell the speaker “This audience is anxious to hear my speech.”

There are two major purposes facing someone who introduces a guest speaker:
1. To build enthusiasm for the guest speaker by establishing his or her credibility.
2. To build audience interest in the guest speaker’s topic.

Guidelines for preparing a speech of introduction:
1. Keep speeches of introduction brief. They typically last from 45 seconds to three minutes. You will be required to hit a delivery time of 1 ½ to 3 minutes.
2. Be absolutely accurate. Know how to pronounce the speakers name. Know the basics of the speaker’s background.
3. Suit your level of formality to the occasion.
4. Make the speaker you are introducing feel good. Be factual about his or her accomplishments and show how the speaker’s background and experience have prepared him or her to speak with authority on this topic.
5. Don’t embarrass the speaker with excessive praise.
6. Don’t reveal personal incidents of the speaker’s life that could be embarrassing. Sometimes this is done in an attempt to laugh, but the speaker may not want to come to the podium to deliver his or her speech.
7. Show the listeners the relationships among the speaker’s background, the chosen topic and the audience’s interests.
8. Work to build a feeling of expectation and drama among the members of the audience. Think of yourself as the appetizer before the meal!
9. Save the name of the main speaker for the end of the introduction.
10. A successful speech of introduction will rely on language usage, memory and delivery. Each requires thorough rehearsal.

Plan and deliver a 1 ½ -3 minute speech of introduction for one of the following occasions:

1. a popular musical group speaking to a fine arts club about the stressors of life on the road

2. a recruitment officer speaking at a career day assembly about opportunities in the military

3. a magician performing at an elementary school for a second grade audience

4. a police officer speaking to senior high school students about safety during and after the prom

5. a representative from a major university addressing your class about college life

6. a local author speaking to journalism students about publishing stories

7. an actor from Broadway speaking to drama students about a current production

8. a college athlete speaking to high school athletes about what it it takes to succeed in the elite sporting field

9. a comedian speaking to a teen audience at a high school all-night party

Answer the following questions about a topic chosen above:
1. Topic:
2. Statement of Purpose:
3. What are the characteristics of your audience?
4. How familiar is your audience with the person being introduced?
5. What is the relationship between the audience and the person being introduced?
6. What background information will you supply about the person whom you are introducing?
7. What will you say in your speech to raise audience expectations?